Senior BJP leaders on Sunday attacked ruling Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a book written by a former aide of Dr. Singh, saying it is a confirmation of what the world already knew that he is a “weak” Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi had the last word in government matters.
Party patriarch L.K. Advani led the BJP charge as he referred to his 2009 campaign in which he had harped about Dr. Singh being the “weakest” ever Prime Minister and said the book written by Sanjaya Baru confirms what the world already knew.
“The world already knows what he (Baru) has said but the book is an official confirmation. When I said for the first time that among all our PMs Dr. Singh is the weakest, then my own colleagues said he is a nice man and why criticise him so much. I said I feel sad and had sympathy for him,” Mr. Advani told reporters in Ahmedabad.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley sought to draw a parallel between the UPA government and old communist states, wondering if Ms. Sonia Gandhi was like the general secretary of the communist party who had the last word and not Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Quoting the book, he said it confirms what the country “suspected” that the Prime Minister had to get most of his decisions approved and ratified from the Congress president and all sensitive subjects had to be discussed with the person outside the government.
“Did he (Prime Minister) have the last word on all subjects? Or is it the system of the original communist states that was operating, where the party general secretary was always more important than the head of the government,” Mr. Jaitley wrote on his blog.
“Among various institutions which have been dwarfed in the UPA regime, the principal one was the office of the Prime Minister itself,” he said.
“The appointments of key officials would be regulated by 10 Janpath (Gandhi’s residence). Contracts such as the coal blocks allocations were allotted by the party. Even the venue for the funeral of former Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao was decided on collateral considerations....,” he said.